Fitness Advice

Exercising often sounds like rocket science. There are so many rules on precisely how much of specific foods you should eat and what your workouts should be like that it’s often to get confused and overwhelmed. Studies with conflicting results are just the cherry on top of all of this overload mess.

While diet and training routine are as individual as people's movie tastes, the rules on what not to do before working out are, for the most part, common. They can be adjusted for people who are coming out of a shoulder rehab or have other pre-existing conditions, says Maurice Williams, top personal trainer, fitness coach and owner of Move Well Fitness.

Don't overstress on whether you skipped a workout today or forgot to do a certain exercise; this will not have an effect (unless you make it a habit). Do, however, stress on what you should not do before you head out to the gym. A proper pre-workout routine reduces the risk of injuries and increases the quality of you training, leaving you happy and energized.

Don't Ever Do These Things Before Working Out


Don't drink a lot of water at once

Don't confuse this advice with a wild card to drink a couple of glasses of water a day. "If you're thirsty before a workout, drink 16 oz. of water right before you start; may be add some electrolytes," Williams says. They are helpful in preventing dehydration. "But don't drink a lot at once because it will make you feel really full, not allowing you an effective workout." In addition to having to go to the restroom all the time, your kidneys will suffer.


No static stretching

Stretching before a workout is a good idea -- only when it's dynamic stretching, which literally means that you move as you stretch. It's designed to prepare you for exercising by increasing body temperature and range of motion. Static stretching is when you stretch without moving. When you do that before you've exercised, you are risking injury because your muscles are still cold. Pulls and strains are common as a result of this mistake.


Don't overdo the cardio workout

Depending on why you're going to the gym, Williams says, doing cardio exercises for more than 20 minutes is not a good idea. If you want to build muscle, don't do too much cardio, he says, because it tends to break down muscle tissue. But if your goal is strengthening the bones or improving your functional fitness, then there is nothing wrong with longer cardio sessions.


Absolutely no alcohol

If you partied a bit too much on Friday night, don't hit the gym first thing on Saturday. "You can smell the alcohol coming out of them," Williams says. Alcohol is a depressant -- despite the fact that people drink it to release their inhibitions -- it messes up your system. It may also have a lot of sugar which increases your insulin levels. Alcohol leads to dehydration, narrow blood vessels, and impaired motor function if you overdo it.


Beware of coffee

Stimulants can enhance your concentration but they can also make you sick and cause rapid heartbeat. In addition to that, coffee, if it has caffeine, can lead to dehydration. Some studies have suggested that caffeine also increases catecholamines, which are stress hormones. In addition to stimulating cortisol, stress causes insulin spikes. They are blamed for inflammation causing you to feel bad.


No energy drinks

"I am generally not a fan of energy drinks," Williams says. They are simply not good for you. There is no reason to have one when you can do a fresh juice. "It has the same purpose but no sugar, and it's more natural," he adds. Plus, most energy drinks have too much caffeine which can lead to high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat. Even better than a juice, drink a protein meal replacement shake. It will boost your energy right away if you're hungry.


No detox

The strictness of this rule varies with every person's sensitivity to the process of eliminating toxins from your body. "I did a 7-day detox last month and I was able to do my usual workouts," Williams says. "But I would not recommend it to someone who doesn't know how to handle it." In any case, doing 100 percent of your usual routine is not a good idea while you’re cleansing. Do some light stretching and nothing fast-tempo.


Don't wear too many layers

This is true especially when it's cold outside. Wearing too many clothes is dangerous because your body can overheat. As a result you’re sweating more but that makes you feel even colder when the temperatures are lower. Have you ever seen a runner in the park in the winter wearing a ski jacket? A light coat will do.


Don't forget your skin

Poor skin care before a workout is a major reason for breakouts and acne. Remove all makeup and relieve you face from all the chemicals blocking your pores. Always put moisturizer on. It has zinc which helps against hyperpigmentation and aging. Don't forget sunscreen -- UV rays can break though clouds and will still get you. Don’t forget to clean the equipment before using it. Touching the dirty surfaces with your sweaty bare skin is a recipe for acne because of the microbes that you have just transmitted onto your skin.


No sex

If you think about it, this is a workout. So why do two training sessions in a row? You're using a lot of energy. Also, oxytocin, which is a hormone the makes you feel happy and in love, is released. Who want to go huffing and puffing in a gym afterwards? You're probably going to decide to stay home.

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A proper eating and drinking regimen before a workout makes a significant difference if you're actually aiming to get in shape, lose a few extra pounds or improve your cardio health. A common mistake Williams sees is people taking a protein drink when they don't need to. "If you have eaten good breakfast and lunch, you don't need to have protein drinks,” he says. “It’s OK when you haven’t had breakfast or lunch and you come in to do weightlifting exercises."

Following the rules is not an easy task. "There is too much misinformation out there," Williams says. "A lot of people also feel like they are experts just because something worked for them or their best friend."

What mentally draws people back from following simple rules for optimal results is stubbornness, Williams adds. So don't sabotage yourself and go over this list of bad habits you should lose.

For the complete list of the 16 Things Not To Do Before Working Out, go to

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